Our STRIPE approach to the curriculum is very important to us and as Children’s Mental Health week draws to a close, I thought it was a good time to explore the R; reflective and resilient learner. Just as we did in the last lockdown, this time we have planned to support our students with their emotional health just as much as we do with their learning and progress. Being able to “Thrive” is just as important as being able to “Succeed”. In fact, it could be argued that in order to be successful in anything, we need to feel a sense of well being too.
Being self reflective enables us to be more resilient. When we understand ourselves, and our responses to any given situation, we are in a position to deal with it more effectively next time. This is very much in tune with our “failing forward” approach. We can learn from mistakes, make improvements and do better next time. A little self knowledge goes a long way to building character. Strength of character begins with humility; knowing our own strengths, our weaknesses, when to ask for help, when to reach out and help others and when to just sit and reflect.
All of these skills require practice and patience – it isn’t easy to reflect effectively without being self critical. Self criticism can be unhelpful and a barrier to making progress. Accurate self reflection can lead to a change in action and positive steps forwards.
We know that some of our students are finding things tough. This also applies to some families and members of staff too. During this time of immense pressure and stress, anxiety can present itself in different ways and by having that self-awareness we can make sure we don’t end up our own worst enemy. All too often, we can put pressure on ourselves to do more, achieve more and not be kind to ourselves. Ask yourself the question – would you speak to your best friend as you are talking to yourself right now?
Being resilient doesn’t just mean that you can “bounce back” or that you keep on going when times are tough; it means that you can reflect on a situation and see it for what it is. You can seek support, look for the positives and take the next step. Focusing on the positives, no matter how small, is a powerful tool for building resilience. It enables us to practice thinking optimistically.
Doing things that bring a smile to your face or make you feel happy can all help to restore balance and perspective even for a short time.
Students in Years 8 and 9 will know that I often use music in assembly to make a point, help them think about an issue or just create a particular atmosphere. So if I could play you a track right now to make you think, it would be – “Don’t stop” by Fleetwood Mac. If you have never heard it, go and take a listen and hopefully it will make you smile. What would your choice of song be? Try listening to it and see what your response is, if it makes you smile then it is time well spent.
Take care and I am really looking forward to seeing you soon.